How Does Ohio Probate Law Handle Probate of Real Estate?
January 12th, 2012
When going through probate, an estate's real property or real estate is distributed to heirs by the probate court as proscribed by the deceased's will. If there is no will or the will is determined to be invalid, the court will distribute the real estate according to the dictates of Ohio probate law. The Ohio probate attorneys at Gudorf Law Group emphasize that leaving real estate to go through probate runs a significant risk of the property not going to the heirs you intended because someone may contest your will or state law may not grant it to the people you thought would receive it. Moreover, probate subjects the property to the claims of creditors.
There are three ways to likely keep real estate out of probate under Ohio probate law:
Create a revocable trust and title the real estate to the trust — this avoids probate because the real estate is owned by the trust, not the person, and follows the rules of the trust. In essence, the real estate does not get handed down to anyone because it's owned by the trust and therefore does not have to go through probate.
Title the property to two people with rights of survivorship — When two people own real estate jointly with rights of survivorship (known as joint tenancy), the real estate automatically passes to the surviving owner and avoids probate. However, there are many potential pitfalls with joint tenancy that can leave the surviving owner vulnerable to avoidable taxes and other headaches.
Title the property as TOD" or transfer on death. Once again, there are many reasons not to use a TOD designation.